What’s happening in Philly July 2020: Museums, One Liberty Place, Franklin Square, and more re-open!

Franklin Square

One Liberty Place

One Liberty Philadelphia Observation Deck will reopen its doors and welcome the public on Wednesday, July 8, at 10 a.m. As Philadelphia transitions to re-opening its doors, the team at the One Liberty Philadelphia Observation Deck has taken the necessary steps to ensure that everyone who visits upon reopening will enter a safe environment. One Liberty Philadelphia Observation Deck will follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines so guests can feel safe while enjoying the views from 57 floors up. All prospective guests are encouraged to read through the additional increased safety measures here.

(One Liberty Philadelphia Observation Deck)

The Observation Deck will be open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with final guests entering the Observation Deck at 6:30 p.m. One Liberty Philadelphia Observation Deck will be open an additional hour starting July 24, with final guests entering the Observation Deck at 7:30 p.m. Please visit the One Liberty Philadelphia Observation Deck website before your visit.

Beginning July 8 and continuing through July, all tickets will be 10% off. Visitors will also receive one complimentary
admission for a child (ages 3-11) with the purchase of one adult ticket. Children must be present to receive the promotional offer.

Opening later this month at One Liberty Philadelphia Observation Deck will be the “New Beginnings” photo exhibition, available to view and purchase, online and in person. The exhibition will feature local photographers who have been documenting the “awakening” of Philadelphia. A portion of the proceeds from on-site sales of the photos will be donated to Black Lives Matter Philly.

Franklin Square Re-Opens

(Franklin Square)

Great news! Franklin Square is re-opened its doors on Monday, July 6! Historic Philadelphia, Inc., the non-profit that operates and manages Franklin Square, is bringing back this city oasis with health and safety in mind. Come have safe fun in one of Philadelphia’s most historic and special spots.

Watch the Fountain Show, ride the Carousel, play a round of Philly Mini-Golf, run around on the playgrounds, and enjoy this important and beautiful open space. There are even some new ways to get in a little fresh air and exercise to improve physical and mental health.

From July 6 – 31, the Franklin Square Fountain Show will return, running performances on an expanded schedule every 30 minutes from 12 noon – 9 pm daily. Beginning August 1, the Fountain Show, which debuted in Summer 2019, will return to its regular schedule with daily daytime performances every 30 minutes from 12 – 2 pm and evening performances beginning at 6 pm and running every 30 minutes until closing. Each performance is a selection of one of six songs that rotate.

Throughout the Square, guests will find signage to help them experience the park in new and healthy ways:

  • Colorful ground decals will guide guests on a walking loop around the Square – conveying that three loops equals one mile.
  • Silly Square Stroll is a brand-new program with fun signage throughout the Square suggesting ways to get the littlest visitors up and moving (and their older friends, too).

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

(Photo Courtesy Academy of Natural Sciences/Katie O. Clark)

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is primed to re-open its doors. As the Academy continues to follow guidance from the state and city, plans and opening dates are subject to change. Strenuous high-grade cleaning and sanitizing will take place throughout the museum at regular intervals throughout each day.

“The safety of our guests and our staff is paramount,” said Academy President and CEO Scott Cooper. “We are deeply committed to enforcing every precaution and protocol for as long as necessary to keep everyone feeling safe and secure. After months of planning, we are confident our guests will feel comfortable and at ease from the time they enter the building to the time they leave.”

The Academy began planning for its reopening shortly after it closed. The museum formed a multi-departmental team, surveyed its audience, and consulted with national museum organizations, as well as fellow museums around the world, across the nation and in Philadelphia.

“We are ready, and we can’t wait to welcome our visitors back!” Cooper said.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University’s new hours, for the time being, are Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a members-only hour from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. each day. There will be members-only days on Friday, July 24, Saturday, July 25, and Sunday, July 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Several new attractions will be open to the public.

Survival of the Slowest, put on hold when the museum closed March 14 due to COVID-19, was extended and now will be on view through Sunday, Oct. 25. Lulu, the two-toed sloth that captivated visitors and viewers of social media when she appeared wrapped in a blanket in the arms of her keeper, has grown to 17 inches from nose to rump and marked her first birthday on May 7. She will join a dozen other slow-moving animals in the show for the July 24 member opening.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year, whose March 29 opening was postponed, now will open on Saturday, Sept. 5, and be on view through Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. Developed and produced by the Natural History Museum in London, WPY is one of the world’s longest-running and most prestigious photography competitions. The exhibit features 100 winning images that relate thought-provoking stories about the natural world and the future we want to create.

In order to limit the number of visitors in the building at any one time to 25% capacity and to limit personal contact at check-in, admission will be by timed-ticket sold online in advance. Time slots will be at the top of the hour — 11 a.m., noon and so on, with the last ticket of the day issued for 4 p.m. A number of tickets will be available at the door, but visitors may have to wait for a time slot to become available.

Full details on purchasing tickets and other admissions issues are available at this link.

Other Museum Re-openings 


Art and culture is beginning to reopen in Philadelphia. Following closures of over three months to protect against the spread of COVID-19, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, Eastern State Penitentiary, The Franklin Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum have jointly announced plans to reopen with new health and safety protocols for staff and visitors, as state and city restrictions begin to lift.

Each cultural institution is determining its own opening date based on internal factors. Currently, The Franklin Institute reopened on Wednesday, July 8, followed by the Barnes Foundation on Saturday, July 25 (with member previews on July 23, 24, and the morning of July 25), the Academy of Natural Sciences on Friday, July 31 (with member previews on July 24, 25 and 26), and PAFA on Saturday, September 12 (with previews for members and essential frontline workers September 3, 4, 5 and 6).

Eastern State Penitentiary and the Philadelphia Museum of Art — along with the Rodin Museum — expect to announce reopening dates and hours in the coming weeks. As all institutions continue to follow guidance from the state and city, plans and opening dates are subject to change.

(The Franklin Institute)

After months of thorough planning and close coordination with one another, the cultural institutions along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Eastern State Penitentiary and PAFA look forward to once again welcoming visitors for rejuvenating cultural experiences, with the safety and well-being of staff, visitors and the broader community at top of mind. To ensure everyone’s safety, each cultural institution has carefully developed new health and safety protocols, following guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and in consultation with national museum organizations, as well as fellow museums across the nation and around the world.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, Eastern State Penitentiary, The Franklin Institute, PAFA, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rodin Museum have committed to the following precautions and protocols for as long as necessary:

  • Masks/face-coverings for visitors and staff are required
  • For most institutions, advance-reservations are encouraged or required to facilitate contactless transactions, and timed ticketing is in place to control the number of visitors
  • All are expected to practice social distancing
  • Limited building capacity to facilitate social distancing
  • All public spaces and surfaces cleaned and disinfected throughout the day
  • Hand sanitizer stations installed
  • Installation of plexiglass partitions in admissions and other areas

Comprehensive health and safety protocols for staff and visitors will be available on the websites of each museum prior to reopening.

Further details on each cultural institution’s opening dates, and special exhibitions on view, are listed below:

  • The Franklin Institute – Public opening: Wednesday, July 8, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. (last entry 4 p.m.)

Open hours: Wednesdays–Sundays, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

The Presidents by Madame Tussauds (July 8–January 3, 2021)

  •  The Barnes Foundation – Public opening: Saturday, July 25, noon–7 p.m.
    • Member previews: Thursday, July 23, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Friday, July 24, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., and Saturday, July 25, 10 a.m.–noon
    • Open hours: Fridays–Mondays, 11 a.m.–5 p.m., (10–11 a.m. member-only hour)
    • Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Miro to Man Ray (through August 23)
  • Academy of Natural Sciences – Public opening: Friday, July 31, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • Member previews: Friday, July 24, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday, July 25, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, July 26, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • Open hours: Fridays–Sundays, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (10–11 a.m. members-only hour)
    • Survival of the Slowest (through October 25)
  • PAFA – Public opening: Saturday, September 12, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • Previews for members and essential frontline workers (Historic Landmark Building): Thursday, September 3, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Friday, September 4, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturday, September 5, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday, September 6, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • Open hours: Thursdays–Fridays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (10 a.m.–12 p.m. reserved for visitors who are at a higher risk for contracting illnesses, including immunocompromised persons), and Sundays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Late summer opening dates for Eastern State Penitentiary, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum (which is administered by the Philadelphia Museum of Art) will be announced in the coming weeks.

    (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

    The joint statement from museum leaders:

    “Philadelphia’s museum community has been preparing to reopen since the day the COVID-19 health crisis forced us to close. While these have been trying times for the entire global community, and we will continue to feel the impact of this crisis for the foreseeable future, we are eager to begin welcoming our visitors back soon to find inspiration, educational experiences and solace. If our welcome can’t yet be with open arms, it will certainly be with smiles behind our masks.”

    Signed by:

    Scott Cooper, President and CEO, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

    Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President, The Barnes Foundation

    Sally Elk, President and CEO, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

    Larry Dubinski, President and CEO, The Franklin Institute

    David R. Brigham, President and CEO, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

    Brooke Davis Anderson, Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

    Timothy Rub, George D. Widener, Director and CEO, Philadelphia Museum of Art

    Gail Harrity, President and Chief Operating Officer, Philadelphia Museum of Art

    You can follow Candis McLean on Twitter (@CandisRMcLean) and e-mail her at

    Subscribe, rate, and review all Philly Influencer podcasts here. Follow Philly Influencer on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

    Click to comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


To Top